When to Save and When to Splurge on Skin Care

The YesStyle Beauty Lab

Who doesn’t want to stretch a dollar on skin care? I’m not saying you shouldn’t spend more for fancy skin care, because it can make a person happy. Nonetheless, it’s good to know when to splurge and when to save when it comes to your skin care products, so you can make sure every dollar is well-spent.

Here are 5 budget-friendly products, and also 5 others, that are worth investing in. Thankfully, the most common products like cleansers, toners and moisturizers all lie in the “save” category, and even the most expensive item in this list won’t break your bank!

P.S. I included each product’s listed price at YesStyle.com as of October 30, meaning their prices can change if they go on sale!


1. Makeup Removers

A makeup remover serves solely to break down the makeup on your face. It has no skin care value, and you can rely on a cleanser to remove the remaining dirt and sebum on your skin. A gentle cleansing oil can easily get the job done without hurting your wallet (or skin).

Try: KoseSoftymo Speedy Cleansing Oil (US$ 29.90/230ml)

2. Cleansers

How long do you leave a cleanser on your skin? I’d say no more than 30 seconds. If you have zero skin issues, there’s really no need to pay a lot for a cleanser. There are tons of good and affordable finds readily available in the market. I suggest using a cleansing foam to keep you feeling refreshed without stripping skin of moisture.

Try: innisfreeJeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam (US$ 13.90/150ml)

3. Toners

Toners are mainly composed of – what else – water. Since you’ll need to apply it every day, saving on a toner can make a huge difference to your budget in the long run. The main function of a toner is to balance the skin’s pH value and prepare it for the routine that follows. You can leave your other yearnings like brightening and pore-tightening benefits to serums.

Try: NaturieHatomugi Skin Conditioner (US$ 21.90/500ml)

4. Moisturizers (including lip balms and body lotions)

Moisturizers sit on top of skin due to the large water-binding molecules. If you’re looking for other benefits like anti-aging, use serums instead since they can penetrate deeper into skin. The only component you need to look for in moisturizers are humectants, which come in forms of hyaluronic acid, ceramides and glycerin.

Try: KaoCurel Intensive Moisture Care Moisture Cream (US$ 20.90/90g)

5. Sunscreens

Titanium oxide and zinc oxide are two physical UV blockers you should look out for in sunscreens. It is important to apply sunscreen every day to protect skin from premature aging, but that shouldn’t cost you a fortune. You can find many foundations that are infused with SPF 50, which is good enough for daily use.

Try: KaoBiore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++ (US$ 13.90/90g)


1. Serums

Serums contain concentrated ingredients in tiny molecules to reach the deeper layers of the skin. Depending on your skin’s needs and condition, you can choose from ingredients like Vitamin C (brightening), retinol (anti-aging), green tea (antioxidant) and hyaluronic acid (moisturizing), or even a combination of them all. Save your pricey serums for your night routine to harness the best results.

Try: SKIN&LABRed Serum (US$ 37.90/40ml)

2. Eye Creams

I’m in my mid-30s, and I can assure you that you’ll regret it if you don’t begin putting on eye cream in your early 20s. The skin around your peepers is one of the first areas to show signs of aging. You only need to use a small amount each day to keep crow’s feet at bay. Look for ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, snail filtrate and collagen.

Try: MIZONSnail Repair Eye Cream (US$ 28.90/25ml)

3. Chemical Exfoliators

Bad exfoliation can damage skin. Instead of using harsh scrubs and brushes, try chemical exfoliators like AHAs (e.g., glycolic acid and lactic acid) and BHAs (e.g., salicylic acid) to thoroughly eliminate blackheads, sebum and dead skin cells.

Try: Faith in FaceAHA Peel So Good Peeling Gel (US$ 22.90/125ml)

4. Spot Treatments

I never regret spending on spot treatments because they’re so helpful! Acne patches are user-friendly inventions that help dry up pimples overnight. Other powerful acne treatments include benzoyl peroxide, calamine and tea tree oil. Milder ingredients like centella, aloe, kelp and kaolin clay are also known for their soothing benefits.

Try: COSRXAcne Pimple Master Patch + Clear Fit Master Patch (US$ 8.90 /42pcs)

5. Beauty Devices

I know you might be sceptical on this, but some beauty devices are comparable to salon-grade treatments. They can also last long if you take good care of them. Just remember to take out the batteries when they’re not in use!

Try: LABELLERechargeable Sonic Peel 6th Edition (L6) (US$ 48.90/1pc)



Masks come in many different forms (sheet, jelly, clay, peel-off etc.) and functions. That’s why it’s hard to decide whether you should save or splurge on them. I tend to do both: skimping on everyday masks, while occasionally squandering on a luxurious one.

Try: KoseClear Turn Essence Mask (Vitamin C) (US$ 48.90/30pcs)

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